Village Café: Reviving the Newari authenticity

A haven for Newari food lovers, Village Café is where all your culinary wishes come true.

18, Aug 2022 |

Jhamsikhel has recently been transformed into a hub for myriad hotels and restaurants. The Village Café, amongst them, stands out. And why wouldn’t they! Serving authentic Newari cuisine with an authentic homemade taste, Village Café is everyone’s go-to Newari restaurant.

The Village Café was established on May 24, 2011, with an aim of rejuvenating traditional cuisine in the market as well as providing a platform for women home-based entrepreneurs of SABAH Nepal to get recognition and respect for their expertise. Around 30 women are employed by the cafe, which was founded by Sabah Nepal (SAARC Business Association of Home-Based Workers).

The Village Café's hallmark is that all of their recipes are prepared with fresh, organic ingredients that are locally sourced and acquired from local small farmers and residents. They emphasise on nourishing cuisine and legitimate ingredients that convey the authentic essence and flavour of Newari culture.

As soon as you walk in the Village Café, women dressed elegantly in traditional black and red Newari costumes, ‘Haku Patasi’, greet you with a warm smile and a hearty Namaste. The interior is decked with typical Newari musical instruments, cutlery, lakhey masks, and lanterns to convey the ambiance of a Newari home. If you like to dine at a table, you can do so as well. Those who prefer to take their meals in an old-fashioned way can sit on a ‘sukul’, a straw-made traditional Newari mat. 

The Village Café's specialty is the Village Platter, which includes every unique Newari item, from bara, chatamari, alu achar, imli pickle, soybean, yamari, alu tama to the scrumptious gundruk pickle.

The staple dish of Newar, Samay Baji, which is a must on every occasion of the Newari festival, is also authentically prepared and served in The Village Café. Samay Baji platter consists of variety of baji (beaten rice), black soybean, chhoela (smoked meat), aalu achar (boiled potato marinated as pickle), boiled eggs, alu tama (bamboo shoot, potato and beans mixed curry), bara (black lentil pancakes), aaila (Newari liquor), fried fish and bhuti (beans).  

The mouth-watering filling of chaku and khuwa fills your mouth as you bite into the hot and sweet yamari. The protein-packed bara, which is made of lentil patties, is unquestionably an appetiser in Newari cuisine. When you combine bara with imli achar, the sour taste of imli melds with the flavour of bara. 

Another perfect combo to try is their fluffy chatamari and spicy, lip-smacking alu achar. The crunchiness of the entire dish is enhanced by the fried black soy beans. You’ll feel like you are dining at your own home, all thanks to their alu tama that depicts the flavour of regional spices. Alu tama, bhuti, or pickles go together with baji (beaten rice). 

The smoky flavour of hay and fire in chhoela emphasises the originality of the Newari aroma. Spices, garlic, and ginger add a peculiar flavour that enhances the taste of the entire meal. The crispy, sweet, and spherical brown sel roti is not only a visual treat to look at but also delicious when paired with pickles and curries.

For those who adore Newari food and meat, the "Exotic Meat Platter" with sapu micha, fokso fry, khago, and pangra is also a must-try. Vegetarians can also choose from a variety of dishes prepared with mushrooms, tofu and other ingredients.

Gajendra Malla, General Manager at the Village Cafe, when asked what makes Village Cafe stand out in the crowd, he shared, "Here, Not only will everyone take delight in enjoying Nepalese genuine products, ethintical food, they will also contribute to save our agriculture.” 


Photos by Bidyash Dangol

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Samaya Baji: The Newari Khaja Set

Glimpses Of Newar Community Celebrating Gathamangal

The Historical Newar Town Of Banepa

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